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Saint-Gobain fined after British Gypsum arm-loss accident

A £400,000 fine has been levied upon construction materials giant Saint-Gobain Construction Materials Ltd after an accident at its British Gypsum plant in Leicestershire cost a man his arm.

A case brought by the Health & Safety Executive found that a 48-year old employee was seriously injured when a rock handling belt failed at the company’s plant at Barrow-Upon-Soar, Leicestershire.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there was no risk assessment or safe system of work in place for clearing rock safely from tail-end drums. The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been fined £400,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,945.62.

Two employees had been clearing rock that had built up around the belt; as the belt had become so compacted it was difficult to remove by hand. Both men went to the isolator end of the belt and removed the local isolation with the guards still removed and pressed the ‘start/stop’ button. On checking the tail-end of the drum they saw it had not cleared itself of rock. One of the men went to the opposite side of the tail-end drum to remove the rock and the pair were no longer in visual contact. His colleague pressed the start/stop button again whilst his colleague’s arm was in close proximity to the rotating drum and his arm was drawn in.

HSE inspector Michelle Morrison said: “This injury could easily have been prevented, had the risk have been identified. Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery”.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Editor-in-Chief across the BMJ portfolio.

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